Home is more than just a place–it’s the backdrop to cherished memories, it’s an expression of self and style, and it’s where life happens. For Kim and Scott Vargo, a husband-and-wife DIY duo from Chicago, it’s also a labor of love. Since 2007, the couple has been “nurturing old homes back to health,” and inviting visitors along for the journey on their ProPhoto site, YellowBrickHome.com.
Kim and Scott believe that “… every home deserves to be filled with love and be loved, too,” a philosophy that’s evident in their meticulous attention to detail and respect for the unique character of each home.
In the midst of working on their latest project (a yellow “two flat” with a pink bathtub!) Kim was kind enough to share with us how she grows her audience online and stays connected with the DIY community–plus some advice for those thinking of buying their own “fixer-upper.”
Please tell us a little about yourself. How did you and Scott become interested in home renovation? How did you get started in the world of DIY and home makeovers?
We began our DIY journey almost accidentally! After purchasing a recently rehabbed condo in Chicago, we started working on it to make it our own. It began as a beige box (the “contractor special,” as we liked to call it), and we went wild with color. It made us really happy, and we started documenting what we were doing on our blog, Yellow Brick Home.
You guys have tackled just about everything when it comes to home projects! What was one of the most enjoyable projects you’ve taken on?
Any time we finish a big project, we say, this is our favorite project to date! Home renovation and DIY can be really addicting. It’s a lot of stress and there are so many balls in the air at any given time, but the payoff is tremendous. But if I really, really had to choose, it would be the sleeping loft in our Michigan Tree House. That loft is very special to us. We can’t wait until our daughter, currently 18 months, has slumber parties in that loft, giggling with her friends and staying up too late.
Could you share a tip or two for people who are thinking about buying a “fixer-upper”?
Know your limits, and when in doubt, seek advice from a professional.
What are a few of your favorite brands for home products?
We love Schoolhouse and Rejuvenation for lighting and hardware; Article, Crate & Barrel, and CB2 for furniture; flea markets for decor; and eBay for vintage rugs. For a more extensive breakdown, we share our favorite resources on the blog!
Where do you get your inspiration?
We’re inspired by the home that we’re renovating itself. Our house in Chicago is 130 years old, and she begged us to incorporate timeless, vintage finishes. We used a lot of subway tile and polished chrome and we installed all new, taller baseboards. Our small vacation home in southwest Michigan is surrounded by nature, and we opted to use a lot of natural elements – like wood, leather, and steel.
Home projects can be quite time-consuming and tiring… How do you create time for blogging/posting about your projects?
Scott and I both work on the blog full time! Every day is different. Sometimes we’re both writing a blog post, other times we may be more hands-on with a home project. Every now and then, we don’t see each at all, because we’re both tackling different things! It’s challenging, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Who is your target audience at Yellow Brick Home?
We attract people who see themselves in us. So although there are always outliers, the majority of our audience is homeowners in their mid-30s, probably with 1-3 children and pets.
How do you market yourself online? Do you have any advice for other lifestyle bloggers who are trying to expand their audience and connect with new readers/followers?
I don’t think we market ourselves in the traditional sense, but we do stay active. Our most engaged platform – aside from the blog itself – is Instagram! We put most of our social media efforts into Instagram, especially with Stories. We love taking our readers along for the ride, and it’s fun to talk with them through social media. My recommendation is to be consistent and engage with those who are reaching out to you. And if you’re just starting out, be sure to be the one who’s reaching out to others!
How has your ProPhoto website helped you in what you do?
The number one reason that I have stayed with ProPhoto for ten years(!) now, is because the focus is on the photography. I’m a photographer at heart, and I know how important a single image can be in conveying a message. As we share our DIY journey, we find that ProPhoto helps to set us apart.
We love seeing the many types of creative people who use ProPhoto for their websites! Do you have any favorite lifestyle bloggers, for home renovations (or anything else) who you follow?
Do you have any new projects/ventures in the works that you’d like to tell us about?
We just closed on a new renovation project in our neighborhood! We’ve dubbed it The Two Flat, which in Chicago means that it’s two apartments in one house, typically stacked on top of each other. Here’s a video tour! Thank you so much for having me!
Thank you, Kim! Your care for homes and the amazing results of your dedication have us feeling inspired to go home and show our own spaces some love. 🙂